There's no shortage of schools in New York for the culinary-inclined public to pick up the latest technique they saw on "Top Chef" or try out the latest seasonal ingredients, thanks to places like the International Culinary Center, recreational cooking school Haven's Kitchen and cooking store Brooklyn Kitchen.
Now an increasing number of restaurants are opening their doors to teach patrons how to make recipes straight off the menu. And you don't necessarily already have to know how to julienne or what rice to use for risotto to participate.
"We can talk to people who never think about what they're putting in their mouth to people who read cookbooks before they fall asleep," said Alicia Walter, resident chef at Eataly's cooking school, La Scuola. "There's something for everyone."
Here's a look at five eateries currently offering classes in their kitchens.
For Mario Batali wannabes: Eataly
Almost every day of the week, you'll find a class at this Italian food mecca's school, La Scuola, drawing the likes of tourists, serious at-home cooks and those who just like to eat. Though the subject matter varies, from spotlights on wine, olive oil or cheese to tutorials in classic Italian dishes like fresh pasta and, one of its most popular, risotto, they all typically tend to have a regional and historical perspective. Some also include a three-to-four-course meal paired with wine. Upcoming classes include a demonstration with Eataly head butcher Peter Molinari, who will be tackling a whole lamb, on April 16. Classes range from $75-$175 per person, 200 Fifth Ave., 212-539-0204 ext. 304, eataly.com
For pizza lovers: Emily
Since opening earlier this year, this Clinton Hill restaurant has been drawing raves for its artful wood-fired pizza. Now you too can learn what goes into making a stellar pie through its monthly pizza-making workshops. Learn how to work with the dough, stretch a pie and cook it in the restaurant's wood-burning oven. Once it's done, you can eat and have a drink with the chef, Matthew Hyland. You'll also leave with some extra dough to take home for future experiments. Upcoming workshops include a pizza-making on May 6 and beer and pizza pairings on June 3. $125 per person, 919 Fulton St. in Clinton Hill, 347-844-9588, pizzalovesemily.com
For serious foodies: Le Cirque
One of the most acclaimed restaurants around is willing to share a few secrets to its success. Every Saturday now through June 21 from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. you can learn how to make three iconic Le Cirque dishes, featured in the restaurant's cookbook, "A Table at Le Cirque," in an intimate class of 15 students max. After the lesson, you can then enjoy a three-course lunch. Each class also comes with your very own Le Cirque apron, like a pro. $200 per person, 151 E. 58th St., 212-644-0202, lecirque.com
For adventurous bakers: Mille-Feuille Bakery
Even without any advertising, it didn't take long for word of this French bakery's classes to take off. And every weekend, you can find sweets aficionados learning the art of the macaron, croissant or the bakery's namesake, the mille-feuille, right in the middle of Oliver Dessyn's kitchen. The 2 1/2- to three-hour classes covers the preparation and technique of the sweet in question and are limited to only eight people. They're offered Thursday, Friday and Saturday monthly or weekly at the West Village bakery, and private sessions are also available for a higher fee, for those looking for a fun birthday or bachelorette party activity. $135 per person, 552 LaGuardia Pl., 212-533-4698, millefeuille-nyc.com
For Thai food fans: Ngam
Spice up your brunch plans with this crash-course in Thai food. Chef Hong Thaimee leads the class at her East Village restaurant on Saturdays starting at 11:30 a.m. During the 2 1/2-hour hands-on session, you'll learn the essentials of Thai cuisine and how to prepare three staple dishes -- somtum green papaya salad, old-school pad Thai, and green curry. Enjoy the fruits of your labor along with a brunch cocktail or non-alcoholic beverage. The class is limited to 10 students, and private sessions are also available. $80 per person, 99 Third Ave., 212-777-8424, ngamnyc.com